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Your Children Will Placate You From Early Graves

  The Legendary Pink Dots  
  Roir Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Brett Spaceman  
  (for LPD fans)
(for the rest of us)

What a title! You have to admit that warrants admiration alone. It's somehow like the flip side to Music Has the Right to Children by Boards of Canada which is apt, because so is the music.

Over 25 years in the business is enough to bestow legendary status on anyone. British and Dutch act The Legendary Pink Dots passed that landmark recently. This was their anniversary release and it was a good effort too. In fact, Edward Ka-Spel should probably be made some kind of National Treasure. Shouldn't there be some kind of Heritage legislation passed to simply let this man be? Let him carry on doing this stuff. I can easily imagine him doing so well beyond my retirement. As such I look forward to the day, sitting in my bath chair, I can shakily press 'play' on my remote and then maniacally hold the gaze of my terrified grandchildren as the new LPD album crawls out of my speakers.

Always tough to genre label, the LPD flit somewhere between industrial abstraction and psychic, avant-garde rock. Weird and disturbing? Yes they are a bit. It all depends on your outlook. I mean, even a traffic light can look sinister in a Lynch movie, right? The Residents, fronted by Syd Barrett and reading from H.P. Lovecraft might give newcomers a hint of what to expect. The LPD arrangements combined with Edward Ka-Spels atonal, monologue style have always divided audiences. Some have never penetrated the sense of unease that surrounds most LPD tracks. More often than not, this is a pity as within these pieces can be found a great deal of humour, touching sentiment, and sage political outlook.

Listening to Your Children Will Placate You From Early Graves, the effect can be somewhat akin to entering an empty Victorian child's bedroom by candlelight. Maybe you think the crib looks sinister? Is that china doll looking at you? Did the rocking horse just move? The truth is the room is just full of toys but the effect can be quite eerie, if you let it. That's a Legendary Pink Dots album!

The subtlety and restraint within LPD compositions only heightens the feeling of foreboding. Other so-called "Industrial" acts can lay it on rather too thick. The effect is something like a clumsy horror flick. There is far more intelligence to LPD work. Ka-Spel may be infatuated with gloomier subject matter, but the wit and sheer word-smithery of the man win the day. As a narrator of the human condition, he is almost without peer.

Short, sharp and cohesive, this is arguably their real follow up to All the Kings Men. Or perhaps a fusion between that album and older oddity Malachai? For LPD fans, you'll buy this anyway and be pleased, I have no doubt. The curious will find this a great introduction. I think the title must allude to a hope for benediction from future generations. Forgiveness, perhaps, for the state of the planet we're ostensibly handing over?

Expect: creepy ambience and whimsical, yet thought-provoking monologues.

Don't expect: dry palms throughout. Or tunes.

Wanna see something really scary? Headphones, at night, in the dark, alone. I dare you.

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